Good morning, or afternoon, or evening, or timeless abyss in the depths of the howling void, wherever you may be reading Swish Appeal! It's day two of the Chartwells Holiday classic, this time featuring Drexel versus Prairie View. Looks like Prairie View gets to be the home team today, as Drexel is rocking their navy blue again (seriously, you are Dragons, with all the draconic colors available to you, why are you boring navy blue?). Unsurprisingly, a lot of people are not here, as St. John's fans only tend to show up for their own games. Guys, it's free. Enjoy the freeness of its freeness!
Prairie View's been putting up a good fight in this one. They're down 13 at the half, which is better than yesterday against James Madison. Their offense is still questionable, running down the clock constantly, but their defense has improved. Drexel is doing a nice job closing on Jeanette Jackson, similar to the way they swarmed Aliyyah Handford yesterday. This time, Prairie View has been able to get a little offense from Gabrielle Scott to make up for it. Fouls are still a little bit of a problem for Drexel, but there isn't quite as much rending of garments and tearing of hair as there was yesterday at the officials.
Prairie View started the game in their road purple, with Drexel wearing their road blues. Apparently the officials did not approve, because the Panthers just ran out here in their home whites. They seem a little cranky about it. I wonder if the female ref had to watch them to make sure they did it or something.
Good fight by Prairie View. Their pressure in the latter parts of the game discombobulated Drexel, and while it wasn't enough to pull out the win, they made it very, very respectable.
As a woman of Greek heritage (it's my mom's side) I get thrown off when someone decides to name their daughter Pandora. Yes, it means "all gifts", but it also means "stupid woman who opened the box of sins and unleashed all evil upon the world, what were you even thinking?" So it was a little hard for me to focus on Pandora Wilson doing things on the court. She seemed to rely more on her width than any skill in getting position. Carrie Alexander brought decent energy off the bench, but had a couple of dumb plays. Jackie Schluth did well in the middle on both ends of the floor, but kept committing fouls while lying down. On one hand, that's hard luck; on the other hand, roll out of the way! Don't foul out tripping someone because you can't dodge. Tory Thierolf was again primarily a defensive player- I get the feeling offense is not her strong point.
Alexis Smith had remarkable speed, and unusually for a freshman, seems to have picked up the knack for running backwards. On the other hand, she played more defense with her hands than with her feet. (Then again, freshman. We have a freshman with the same problem. She can learn.) Meghan Creighton again brought the unnecessary fouls. It's not necessary to trip an opponent and then try to claim that you were fouled. That, and it's tacky. Rachel Pearson made sure that as close as Prairie View got, Drexel would always stay ahead, coming up with big shots late. Fiona Flanagan got into early foul trouble, and Coach Dillon was very conservative about fouls for most of the game- once Flanagan picked up the second in the first half, she was gone for most of the game. I think they were expecting to use her as more of a rebounder. Sarah Curran did just enough of the scoring in the first half to make sure that Drexel had a lead.
The defensive pressure was heavily team-based- I think everyone contributed, whether it was the forwards clogging the middle or Smith making flashy steals like she thought she was playing for the Eagles or something.
Alexus Parker made it very clear why she thought she was on the floor- she wears 3 and she shoots threes. She spent most of the game dancing around the arc with her hands out, looking for the shot. I don't think she knew what to do when she didn't have a shot opportunity. Shaneece Stephens at least knew when she made bad mistakes, and also had a gorgeous steal in the second half where she rose up and intercepted a pass. Tonisha Lacey was the only post off the bench who got minutes, which surprises me- Shamiya Brooks wasn't great yesterday, but neither was Lacey, and it's becoming clear that Asha Hampton-Finch needs a break more often than her coach will give it to her. It's not a good sign when you can see a player laboring on the floor.
Jeanette Jackson found her rhythm, and a little space, in the second half, and once that happened, she came alive, sniping threes and driving fearlessly to the lane. Several of her free throws did come after the game aws once more out of reach, but she got them back into it pretty much by sheer force of will. Gabrielle Scott drove us nuts in the first half with four or five shots that had a foot on the line. Then she took the step back and promptly buried the shot. The lesson, alas, didn't stick. She seemed really out of rhythm and out of place. Larissa Scott got her rebounding on, especially on the offensive end. LaReahn Washington is still hard to get a handle on. I'm not sure if she's a playmaker, or if she just gets the ball up, or if she's a streaky scorer that I just haven't seen on a good streak. But she didn't bring anything that I could determine. Asha Hampton-Finch boxes out well, but her rebounding and especially her ability to get a hand on the ball leave much to be desired.
Prairie View just generally seemed hesitant on offense. They relied heavily on Jackson, and too many possessions involved them passing the ball around and around and around until someone either chucked up a desperation shot or there was a shot clock violation. No clock management skills whatsoever. Also, way, way too many high passes. Panthers don't fly, unless zoology has tragically lied to me. Lots of yelling from the sideline, but I don't know how much listening was getting done. And even with a solid player like Jackson, I can't see a scenario where having half your points come from one player is a good thing for this team. They showed a lot more heart and fight than they did yesterday, but I don't think they're built for success.